Leading SA: San Antonio Food Bank Chief Program Officer discusses changes in demand, SNAP

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio food bank is a vital part of our community for so many families — and through various economic conditions and national policy changes — the food bank has to react accordingly.

Melanie McGuire, Chief Program Officer with the food bank joined Leading SA to explain the latest SNAP changes.

So for the past two years, as many families have benefited from emergency allotment. So additional funds that they were able to leverage to the SNAP program and that funding has ended at the end of February… we’re seeing families lose 90 to $100…. it is really difficult during this time for families to adjust to that new SNAP benefit rate. And it’s affecting the food bank,” McGuire said.

The food bank is helping thousands and thousands of families.

Toward the end of 2022, we already saw our food lines get longer. Certainly, the impact of grocery prices on families and rent and utilities meant that families had to stretch their budgets… And so we anticipate that’s going to continue here in the early parts of 2023 as families are now, you know, once again, having to combat these very, very difficult decisions,” McGuire said.

Currently, the Food Bank serves more than 100,000 families every week, a big increase from pre-pandemic levels.

“Before the pandemic, the San Antonio Food Bank was serving about 60,000 families a week in our communities. And so, you know, during the height of the pandemic, we saw a doubling effect. And now we’re still at a very elevated rate for many of our families. So it does mean longer lines… we’re really trying to help families amongst various facets of food insecurity,” McGuire said.

As prices rise at the grocery store, McGuire said the lines only get longer at the food bank.

“We’ve seen the impacts of inflation, but we’ve also seen the impacts of the food supply chain. And so oftentimes, we’re at the mercy of what’s going to come in to make sure that we can get that food out… we know it’s going to take a community effort to be able to supply this need,” McGuire said.

There are ways to step up and help out.

“There’s lots of opportunities you could use your support in right now, particularly to serve that elevated need—all of our volunteer opportunities on our website. You can host a food drive or donate a monetary donation, and all of those are very much appreciated as we help our San Antonio families,” McGuire said.

For more information on San Antonio Food Bank, click here.

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